Monday, November 02, 2009


Countries are like individuals in that they are all different and all with their unique skin color, language, customs, laws, food and financial currencies. When we enter another country we know that we must abide by new laws, customs and use the currency of that country to get what we want. In Japan, we understand that bowing is the way of greeting people, removal of shoes when entering a home and that to purchase anything we need to have Yen. We would not get far with its people if we tried to pay for your food with Canadian dollars or failed to take off our shoes upon entering someone’s home.

Individuals, like countries are very unique. Every person has grown up with different values and experiences making them the individual they are today. For most of us, we are in contact with people all day and have to deal with different personalities in different situations. If we think of individuality like we do countries we realize that we cannot use our same personal style of thinking and communicating with every single person if we are to get them to listen, trust and to follow our lead.

During our daily interactions, it does not matter what position we are in whether teacher, manager or student, we interact with others and we all have chances to lead people with our individual approaches. But what happens when we use our unique approach and we cannot connect with someone different than us? This outcome is from not having recognized that our currency is not being accepted and we have to use that person’s currency if we are to succeed with them. Essentially, we have not recognized what this person values and what intrinsically motivate this person to succeed. Everyone is different and to effectively lead others we have to appreciate what type of leadership and communication they need. Great leaders will recognize this and make efforts to know other peoples currency.

Whereas one person may value achievement and challenge more than the next, this person will respond well to challenge after challenge in which they then have the chance to see themselves win each time. For someone else who values and needs recognition, to be given a new challenge every week does the opposite of motivating this person to go further. Yet if you were to recognize this person for the things he or she does well, you are feeding their individual currency and have better chances of connecting with what motivates this person to succeed. Currency is different with each person like a country and individual currencies could be any of the following: independence, social, inclusion, security, praise or support.

What is important to note in all this is although knowing our currencies is important we must not continually see it as the be-all end-all way of leading or being lead by others. For example, if your currency is inclusion do not always wait to be included by someone else. Take initiative over your currency to get yourself included. If your currency is to be recognized and you are not getting it will you turn to a negative attitude and lose your motivation? Or will you take the higher road knowing that you are the one in control of your life and continue to make things happen even if you are not being seen for them?

Everyone has different upbringings and values something different. If we can see this in people and change our approach we will be more likely to succeed in relationships on any team whether at work, at home or on the playing field. Conversely, understanding our own currency and knowing that if we are not getting it will we then make change to still follow our goals and stay motivated? Take the time to think of your values and what makes up your currency. Share it with others and take the time to see the different currencies of people you work with in your life.

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